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Bible

Understanding

Made Easy

Josiah

Josiah was a great king.  He was someone that God considered righteous.  He teaches us the valuable lesson of worshipping God and worshipping Him only.  He also teaches us the power of leadership.  Because of his reforms in Judah, many of the children of Israel were worshipping God in truth and living righteously.  When we are living righteously, we can influence others to do the same.  Thus, when we are living righteously, God is pleased with us and we can lead others to Him at the same time.
Regarding Josiah’s story, he was only 8 years old when he became the king of Judah.  He was king for 31 years.  He was one of the few kings of Judah that God considered to be righteous (2 Kings 22:1-2; 2 Chronicles 34:1-3).
One of the crowning achievements of his career was the restoring of the Jewish Temple building.  Because the worship of God in truth had been neglected so heavily, the Jewish Temple was in bad shape!   It was in disrepair!  Thus, the king raised money from the people to repair it so that God could be worshipped properly.  The exciting part of all of this work started by Josiah was that he was only about 26 years old (2 Kings 22:3-7).  What do we learn from Josiah’s actions?  First, we learn that you are never too young to work for God and do good things for Him!  Josiah was young, but God was obviously a part of his life and he wanted to serve God!  You should do the same.  It also proves that God can use young people to do great things!  So, never be ashamed to ask to do things for the church.  You are never too young to start serving God!  God was happy with Josiah for working for Him and will be happy with your works as well!  Second, we also learn that we must give to the work of God to keep it going.  God wants us to give every Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7).  Remember, when you give to God, He gives back to you. So, if you want to be blessed, you must give.  If you don’t want to be blessed, then continue being stingy with God.  If you are stingy, He will be stingy with you!  So don’t hurt your own blessings by being selfish.  It is just not worth it.  Remember, if you just give a little and that is all you have, then God is pleased (Mark 12:41-43).  As long as you are doing your best, it does not matter how much you give.  Most importantly, it matters if you are sincere about what you are doing.  That is what God will judge us upon!


Moving on in the story, we find out that during the renovations of the Temple, the book of the Law was found there.  The book of the Law was the Old Testament Law of Moses.  They had obviously found the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  This was the Bible of Josiah’s day.  The New Testament did not exist yet, because Josiah lived hundreds of years before the earthly life of Jesus.  Josiah was very upset by the Words of the book of the Law that was read to Him.  He was upset, because he realized that the people of Judah had not obeyed the things written within its pages.  He then instructed one of his men to go to a prophet to seek a Word from God.  Unfortunately, the news was not good.  The prophetess was named “Huldah.”  She revealed what the Lord had to say.  She stated that God was going to punish the people of Judah for their sins.   The specific sin that God was referring to was their idol worship.  Huldah was telling them that God was going to destroy the people of Judah one day.  However, because Josiah was righteous in the Lord’s eyes, God would not destroy the people through the Babylonians until Josiah died.  Thus, this was God’s mercy to Josiah.  Remember, God knows how to punish the wicked and preserve the righteous.  This is what will happen on the judgment day.  Righteous Christian people will go on to eternal life in heaven while sinful, unbelieving people will go to eternal punishment.  The Words of God from Huldah came true many generations after the death of Josiah when God allowed the Babylonians to conquer and destroy Jerusalem (2 Kings 22:8-20; Matthew 25:31-40; 2 Chronicles 34:8-28).


In 2 Kings 23, we see Josiah reforming Judah.  First, he went up to the Jewish Temple with all of the people of Jerusalem.  He read the Law of Moses from their Bible in their hearing.  The response from the people was very good!  They agreed to obey the Law of Moses as they should have been doing all along (2 Kings 23:1-3; 2 Chronicles 34:29-33).  Remember, this is the reaction that we all should have when we hear the Word of God.  The Word of God is designed to point out our faults, correct them, and encourage us (2 Timothy 4:1-2).  As a result, when you hear something that is a challenge to you from the Lord, do not get angry and do not rebel.  When we obey the Word of God, we please Him and the blessing of eternal life will be ours in the end (Matthew 7:21-27; Revelation 2:10; James 2:20; Luke 9:23).  Thus, the sacrifice of getting rid of the evil things in our life is worth eternal salvation!  You are not going to like everything you hear from God’s Word, but you will love the fact that God is willing to correct us and get us back on track in life when we are not living in a righteous manner instead of just condemning us to hell!  Always remember that!


Moving on, we also see Josiah doing the Word of God.  It was obvious that his study of God’s Word revealed that the Lord outlawed idolatry in the land.  So, he cleaned out the Temple of the idols his people had put there. He destroyed these idols outside of the Temple.  He also cleared out any priests and other practitioners of idolatry out of the Temple.  He even went to cities outside of Jerusalem and destroyed the altars of worship of idols throughout Judah and Samaria (2 Kings 23:4-20).  He even convinced the people to start celebrating the Passover again as they were supposed to do all along.  Remember, the Passover was commanded to be kept by God every year as a memorial to God delivering the children of Israel from Egyptian slavery back in the time of Moses and Aaron (2 Kings 23:21-23; 2 Chronicles 35:1-19).  Even more, he got rid of those who practiced black magic out of Judah (2 Kings 23:24-25).


As you can see from Josiah’s actions so far, we have to be a doer of God’s Word to be pleasing to Him.  Josiah could have decided to do nothing at all after the discovery and reading of the Word of God.  If this was the case, then he would have been considered a wicked king in God’s eyes.  Instead, He started doing all of the reforms in the land that we discussed.  This is a good example for us.  Many people teach that all we must do today is believe in Jesus to be saved.  However, this is not true.  Jesus’ Words are captured in the New Testament of the Bible.  God the Father gave Him the Words to teach us (Hebrews 1:1-3; Matthew 7:21; James 2:20).  Thus, when we do not obey Jesus, we are also not obeying God the Father.  So, in order to be pleasing to God and be saved, we must do everything Jesus says.  We cannot just believe and take no action after that!  Otherwise, we will be considered wicked in God’s eyes and that will keep us out of heaven.


Moving forward, unfortunately, Josiah’s actions were not enough to save Judah from God’s wrath.  God still foretold through a prophet that he would destroy the nation and the Jewish Temple which did occur after the death of Josiah.  The Babylonians destroyed them later in history.  God was speaking prophetically, which means He could see the future and knew that the reforms in Judah were only temporary.  Later in history, they would return to their idol worship; causing God to judge them through the Babylonian army (2 Kings 23:26-27).


Unfortunately, Josiah’s life would end in tragedy.  He was killed by Necho.  Necho was the king of Egypt.  After Necho defeated him in battle, Josiah’s servants brought his body from the chariot and buried him in Jerusalem.  Then, the people of Judah made Jehoahaz, his son, the next king.  The sad part about Josiah’s death was that Necho told him that God wanted him to go fight the Hittites at Carchemish.  Carchemish was an Assyrian city.  So, Necho was actually going to fight someone else.  Josiah was not even his enemy!  However, Josiah went to fight Necho against God’s Will and was killed in the process.  We don’t know why Josiah fought him.  Some commentators believe that Josiah wanted to win the favor of the king of Assyria (Coffman, n.d.).  Some believe that he did not want the Egyptians marching through his land (Jamieson, n.d.).  This is a mystery.  However, this teaches us to mind our own business.  Jumping into fights that do not belong to us can get us hurt or killed in the end.  Don’t make this same mistake in your life (2 Kings 23:28-30; 2 Chronicles 35:20-26)!
In conclusion, we can learn many good things from Josiah’s story that we can use to become more righteous in God’s sight.  First, we must desire to worship God correctly as Josiah did when He rebuilt the Jewish Temple which was the place of worship in his day.  Second, we must also read and obey the Bible as Josiah did.  It is not enough to just believe in God, His Word, and Jesus.  We must also obey as Josiah did.  Third and lastly, we must not make the fatal mistake that Josiah did.  There are some fights that do not concern us.  Thus, we must pick our fights wisely.  We must not pick fights with those who are not threatening us.  It just may cost us our lives as it did with Josiah!  That was a big mistake that he made and we should not imitate.  May God bless and keep you!

 
REFERENCES

Coffman, J. (n.d.). Coffman commentaries on the Old and New Testament. Retrieved July 10, 2014 from http://classic.studylight.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=2ch&chapter=035.

Jamieson, R. (n.d.). Commentary critical and explanatory on the whole Bible. Retrieved July 10, 2014 from http://classic.studylight.org/com/jfb/view.cgi?book=2ch&chapter=035&verse=001#2Ch35_1.

 

 
God’s Plan of Salvation

    There is so much confusion in the world today regarding what some people preach as God’s plan of salvation.  Some will have one say a prayer similar to the following, “Dear Jesus.  I realize that I am a sinner.  I accept you as my personal Lord and Savior.  Please forgive me now and save me.”  This is commonly called “A Sinner’s Prayer.”  There is only one portion of this type of prayer that is right.  One must accept Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior, but a prayer for salvation is not in the Bible.  One cannot pray and receive salvation. 
Others preach that one can just believe and he/she is automatically a child of God.  Unfortunately, this method is not mentioned in the Bible as God's way of salvation either.
Even others preach that if an infant is baptized, he/she is saved at that moment.  Well, friend, again, this is a method made up by man and not in the Bible.
Literally studying the Bible, itself, is the only way to get a true and righteous answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?"  This is where it is wise to allow the Word of God to explain itself as much as possible.  Please come with an open mind to this study as it is not meant nor worded to offend.  It is only designed to spread the truth of what God literally says one must do to be saved.  


First, we must study the first element of God's plan of salvation, which is to hear His Word as taught in the Bible, itself.  1 Corinthians 1:21 reads, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”  To those disinterested in the things of God, preaching salvation through Jesus Christ is foolishness to them.  It is nonsense.  On the other hand, for those truly seeking God, it is God’s wisdom displayed unto him/her.  Salvation comes through hearing the Word of God.  It does not come through feelings, flashes of great light, an audible Word from Jesus, Himself, a literal appearance from Him, or any other methods people claim to have experienced today.  Instead, God has said salvation comes from preaching.  In fact, Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (New King James Version).  This means one must hear the Word of God to be saved.  Again, this is done through preaching!  

 

Second, in order to be saved, Jesus says, “15…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16 New King James Version). This verse is showing us one must believe the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. What is that Gospel (i.e. the good news)? Acts 2:22-39 explains it to us and reads:
22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- 23 "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 "whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 "For David says concerning Him: 'I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.' 29 "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call (New King James Version).


To say this in a brief manner, in order to be saved, one must believe that Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross of Calvary, rose again to life on the third day, and has been chosen by God the Father to be mankind’s Lord and Christ (i.e. Savior).

How is He the Savior of all mankind who will believe and obey Him? The answer is all mankind, including you and me, have sinned. This means we have all done something worthy of spiritual, eternal death. We are worthy of eternal punishment through our evil deeds (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Jesus volunteered to give His life as a substitute offering so we could be freed from the sentence of eternal, spiritual death (1 John 2:2; Romans 5:9-10). In other words, Jesus’ death was a peacemaking offering, also known as an atonement, with God the Father (Romans 5:11).
If one can believe the death of Jesus was the substitute for the eternal, spiritual death we deserved, then God is able to save him/her. If not, he/she cannot be saved, because there is no other way one can be saved (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 4:12; Titus 1:4). There is no salvation to those who do not become Christians before they die (John 14:6). Believing that Jesus is Lord and Christ is also a conviction that Jesus is the literal Son of God (John 3:16). He was human, but Divine as well.
Third, in order to be saved, one must also repent of his/her sins.  Jesus made it quite clear in His preaching that one must repent in order to be pleasing to God the Father.  One example of this command from Jesus is in Mark 1:15, which reads as follows, according to the New King James Version, “…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” 


What is repentance?  Orville J. Nave has a great definition of what this word means and is quoted as follows, “A complete reversal of one’s attitude and values, i.e. a turning toward God” (Unger & White, 1996).  This is just another way of saying when one desires to become a Christian, he/she has to make a commitment to live a morally upright life according to the Will of God in the New Testament. 

 

Remember, when Jesus died, He brought in the New Testament (which is the New Covenant) and closed the Old Testament (i.e. the Old Covenant).  We are to obey the New Testament for salvation, but use the Old Testament for our learning of principles that have been carried over into the New Testament (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 12:24, Romans 15:4).  Please also keep in mind, the Father God speaks to us in these last days through His Son-Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3).  His Words, which are the Words of the Father God, are captured in the New Testament of the Bible (Matthew 7:21-23). 
What does repentance lead to according to the Bible?  Acts 2:38 shows us and reads as follows, according to the New International Version, “…Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Remember, repentance is a change of lifestyle from the bad to the good.  Notice, repentance must come before God will forgive us of our sins.  Thus, if one will not commit to leaving a sinful lifestyle behind, then God cannot forgive the person.  Without forgiveness, there is no salvation.  
Fourth, one must confess Jesus Christ to be one’s Lord in order to be saved.  This is shown to us in Romans 10:9-10, according to the New International Version, “9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Italics Added). 


The Bible gives an example of this confession in Acts 8:37.  Acts 8:36-38 reads as follows, according to the New American Standard 1995 Version:


36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ``Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?'' 37 And Philip said, ``If you believe with all your heart, you may.'' And he answered and said, ``I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'' 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 


Friend, as you can see, the saving confession, which acknowledges the fact one has accepted Jesus as his/her Lord, is “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

 

Fifth, in order to be saved, one MUST be baptized in water.  Jesus, again said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16 New King James Version). 
Notice, Jesus used the word “and” between the words “believes” and “is baptized.”  This means the two concepts are connected and inseparable.  In order to be saved, one must BOTH believe and be baptized according to the teachings of God!  Man may separate the two in his own false teachings, but it is only the Word of God that saves! Water baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation with no exceptions.  If the Bible teaches it, then it is true.  If man teaches otherwise, then he is a liar!  

 

Sixth and finally, the last thing one must do to be saved is to stay faithful to Jesus Christ until he or she dies. This author did not imagine this concept, it is literally written in the Scriptures. Jesus said the following to all Christians, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10 New American Standard 1995 Version).
This word “faithful” is accurately defined by the renowned Greek scholar, Joseph Thayer. He defines the original Greek Word “pistos” (Strong’s number 4103) as the following, “Trusty; faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties” (Thayer, 2003).

 


Thus, to remain faithful to Jesus until death means all Christians are bound to live a life according to what Jesus commanded. That is, we have to continue believing in Him as our Lord and Savior until our earthly deaths (Hebrews 10:39; Matthew 10:32-33).   In addition, we have to live a life morally in accordance to the things He taught us (Matthew 7:21-23; Hebrews 1:1-3; Luke 6:41-49; James 2:20).


In summary, God’s plan of salvation, according to the Bible, is as follows:

 

1.     One must hear the Word of God being the offering of salvation through Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17).
2.    (2) He or she must then believe this Gospel story of salvation by accepting Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior (Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:18-20; John 8:24).
3.     He or she then must repent, which means to live a morally, clean Christian life by abandoning sinful ways (Acts 2:38; Mark 1:14-15).
4.    He or she must also confess Jesus Christ as his or her Lord, which means the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:37).
5.    He or she must be submerged in the watery of grave of baptism for the forgiveness of one’s sins (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21).
6.    All Christians must remain faithful to Jesus Christ by continued belief in and obedience to Lord until death (Revelation 2:10; Matthew 7:21-23; Hebrews 1:1-3; James 2:20; Hebrews 10:39).

 

What Are You Going To Do Now?

 

Are you one who has read the Bible and has understood that you may have, unfortunately, been deceived into thinking you were saved, but were not due to being taught false doctrine? Please do not be ashamed. Satan has many false teachers and preachers in this world (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)!  Remember, one of the tools Satan uses to keep us enslaved to sin and headed to eternal punishment is our own pride (1 John 2:16)!  Please do not let pride stop you from becoming a true Christian.  If you are one who thought you were a Christian, but realized you were not taught the truth leading to salvation, then this author begs of you to find a local church of Christ congregation and tell the minister there your dilemma.  Then, allow yourself to be taught the truth (Acts 8:26-39). From there, give yourself to Christ in truth so there will be no doubt of your salvation when the judgment day comes!  Make sure you have yourself baptized at the local congregation to wash away your sins (Acts 22:16)!  Remember, false teachings send us to eternal punishment and not heaven (Matthew 15:13-14; Galatians 1:8-9).  Only the truth will set us free from sin and eternal death (John 8:32).  May God bless you and keep you! This author loves you, but God loves you more (1 John 4:8-11; John 15:13)!

 

 
REFERENCES

 

Newell, J. (1991). BAAL. Retrieved June 4, 2014 from http://classic.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T607.

 

Newell, J. (1991a). ASHERAH. Retrieved June 4, 2014 from http://classic.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T500.
 

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